This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Familial transthyretin amyloidosis (FTA) is a rare inherited condition characterized by abnormal build-up of a protein called amyloid in the body’s organs and tissues. Symptoms start in adulthood and get worse over time. Signs and symptoms depend on where the amyloid protein is building up. Amyloid build-up in the nerves of the peripheral nervous system causes a loss of sensation in the lower limbs, feet, and hands (peripheral neuropathy). Amyloid build-up can also affect the involuntary body functions, such as blood pressure, heart rate, and digestion. Other areas of the body that may be affected are the heart, kidneys, eyes, and gastrointestinal tract.
FTA is caused by changes (mutations) in the TTR gene. Inheritance is autosomal dominant, but not all people with a TTR gene mutation will develop FTA. Diagnosis of FTA is suspected by signs and symptoms and confirmed by tissue biopsy and genetic testing.
Primary treatment is a liver transplantation. This procedure removes the main source of amyloid from the body, but amyloid may still build-up in the heart, brain, and eyes. New medications have become available that block the formation of amyloid and may provide an alternative to liver transplant. Other treatments include heart and/or kidney transplantation, putting in a pacemaker, replacing the fluid in the eye (vitrectomy), and various medications. FTA is typically a fatal condition, but life expectancy depends on many factors.
For more information, visit GARD.